Posted in: New Hams Corner

New Hams Corner: Language

This month I want to talk a little bit about all of the language you hear on the radio. A lot of people are confused when they first start listening to the strange new language of hams. Like any new language there are words that you may be confused by or not have any clue what the person is talking about! Sometimes you may get a clue by what the subject is but even that might not help at first.

Most study guides have a list of Q signals. Get to know the common ones. There are also a few general shorthand letters or words that are very helpful. You might not hear them on repeaters but will surely hear them down in the SSB world. CQ, 73, 5 by 9.

All have meaning…even if it has blurred since the 1930’s when they were first used. The most fun is when someone uses one of the shorthand items incorrectly. A good Ham will gently correct the person and no offense should be taken! It just makes for a better operating situation for all.

Do not be afraid to ask what a pro-word or abbreviation is for. It will make you a better operator and others might have been wondering the same thing but are afraid to ask. One thing that I have noticed in the past few years is a lot of Citizens Band terms have made their way over to the ham bands. While originally frowned upon by the old timers it has now become common. Right or wrong it is just a change caused by so many CBers now getting their licenses and going on the ham bands.

If a term is confusing ask…and today you can look up lists of terms online instead of having to rely on going to a book to find them! Here are a few good lists:

The second has so much more good information for the new ham as well as someone who might be moving on to other aspects of the hobby besides 2 meter repeaters.


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